With just over half of the MLB season in the rear view mirror, you should have a pretty good idea of where your fantasy team stands at the moment. The seasonal sample size is sufficient to properly evaluate the majority of the everyday players, and now is a good time to try to swing a deal to strengthen any weaknesses and make a push for the league title. The players on the extreme ends of the talent/production spectrum are fairly easy to identify. Who doesn’t want Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw on their fake teams? At the same time, it might be better to leave a lineup slot empty than to use either Alexei Ramirez or Yonder Alonso at any given time. Those are the easy decisions. The tough ones involve the players who are hovering somewhere in the middle, teetering on the edge of breakout or bust. Philadelphia Phillies 23-year-old third baseman Maikel Franco is such a player. After leading the Grapefruit League in homers and RBIs this spring, Franco looked as appetizing to fantasy players as an authentic Philly cheesesteak wiz wit. The first couple of months of the regular season weren’t all fresh Amoroso rolls and grilled onions for the second year player though. Through June 19th (263 plate appearances), Franco was sporting a .236/.281/.409 triple slash line with 19 runs, 11 homers, 33 RBIs, and zero steals. Not exactly the type of production that his owners had in mind. However, in his last 15 games and 66 PAs since then, Franco has slashed .375/.470/.786 with 14 runs, 6 homers, and 16 RBIs. So who is the real Franco? The mediocre three category liability that opened the season or the Miguel Cabrera clone of the last few weeks?

Let’s take a look at Franco’s profile to determine what can be expected from him over the remainder of the 2016 season. Here are a few observations:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Ugh, ranking pitchers is so annoying sometimes! You like a guy, he sucks a little, you stop liking him, he then gets better… I’m changing this to monthly rankings here on out, dammit!

OK, rant over. Don’t worry, I’ll stick with the weekly ranks. But after buying into the Anthony DeSclafani hype in the pre-season, to taking him out of my ranks, to then rank him very aggressively when he got off the DL, only to see two meh starts including a rough one against the lowly Braves, and now DeSclafani is looking good again with that wicked slider has my panties bunchier than the chocolate in Buncha Crunch. I’m having a roller coaster of emotions! I feel like Yordano Ventura on the mound, I’m coming unhinged! I watched a good bit of DeSclafani’s first start off the DL hosting the A’s and he looked pretty good, but didn’t give it my 100% undivided attention. I think for my own sanity I needed to take a look with how he pitched yesterday afternoon against the Padres, to finally have a decision on this guy… Here’s how DeSclafani’s fourth start on the year went down:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

The top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball were once as bad as the top 20 2nd basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball that I went over the other day.  Now the shortstops have had an influx of youth — or utes, if Joe Pesci is reading — and the future’s so bright I gotta wear shades, Arvid.  I’m happy for the shortstops, and happier for myself.  For a while, the top 20 shortstops were Tulo and those other guys.  Kinda like the top 20 catchers is Posey and those other guys.  Oh, and there was a top 20 1st basemen for 2016 fantasy baseball post already too (organic linking!).  Hopefully, the shortstops aren’t just showing up in a librarian’s outfit with red-rimmed glasses and appearing sexy, then turning out to be Sally Jessy Raphael.  As with the other top 20 rankings, I point out where tiers start and stop and my projections.  All the 2016 fantasy baseball rankings can be found under that thing that says 2016 fantasy baseball rankings.  Unsuccinct!  Anyway, here’s the top 20 shortstops for 2016 fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe because The Bastard Executioner premiered last night, but I’m feeling reminiscent for Sons of Anarchy — Jax, Clay, Peg Bundy and that Irish guy I couldn’t understand — and, specifically, to the Season 4 premiere set to Joshua James’s Coal War.  In that spirit, I ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Ain’t cuttin’ my Strasburg till the good Strasburg shows!  Good Lord, when’s he gonna come!  I hate to give someone a lede soon after I just gave them a lede, but Stephen Strasburg had a line of 8 IP, 0 ER, 1 Hit, 1 Walk, 14 Ks, and I need to make exceptions.  As previously stated, Strasburg’s control and ERA (still at 3.98 on the year) have been all over the map like a drunk Magellan, but, as he showed yesterday, he could easily be a Cy Young candidate for 2016.  I just wish he’d wait until April of next year to show it so we can draft him for cheap.  Likely, most have moved on to fantasy football, so people will see a 3.90-ish ERA from him and under draft him next year.  That’s when we pounce like SAMCRO near an Elvis impersonator that’s not Bobby.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Chicago Cubs mega prospect, and super phenom Javier Baez made his second start yesterday since being called up September 1 and went 3-for-4 with a 2-run HR and 3 RBI. After debuting 0-for-4 with a strikeout on Tuesday, this was a welcome sight for Cubs fans and more importantly, fantasy baseballers like you and me. Will he play every day? I don’t know. But if he keeps going 3-for-4 and hitting dingers…yeah, he’ll probably play! Cubs fans, you so spoiled with prospects these days. Kris Bryant is basically my role model. Rizzo be the Izzo. All Kyle Schwarber does is hit home runs. Now you’ve got Baez to fawn over. We all know about Javy Baez’s power by now, but let me remind you in case you forgot. In 2013, he hit 37 homers and slugged .578 in 130 games.  More recently, he slugged .526 with 13 homers and 62 RBI in 74 games in the minors this year. Last year, in just 52 games with the MLB Cubs, he hit 9 homers with 20 RBI! That’s a 30 homer hitter, folks. Sure he also batted .169 and struck out 95 times but that was last  year,  he was still a raw talent and not quite ready for the big show. This is 2015, a brand new year and Javier Baez is ready to shine. I’d grab him everywhere he’s available for the potential power upside. Grey told you to BUY and adds like this can win your fantasy league. It’s Javy time and this kid’s gonna be a star! Ha-cha-cha!

Here’s what else happened in fantasy baseball Friday night:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Maybe it’s because Whip/Nae Nae is permanently stuck in my head — One word of advice.   If you take no other advice from me, please, I implore you, accept this advice.  If you don’t know what Whip/Nae Nae is, don’t, under any circumstances, Google it.  It make Gangnam Style seem like a walk in the park when it comes to catchy songs. If you don’t know what Gangnam Style is, I love how you’ve decorated under that rock of yours.  — but I can’t help looking at Jake Arrieta‘s no hitter less about the 12 Ks and only allowing one walk — Sure, those are sweet — but more about how his season WHIP is 0.94.  There’s Greinke (.85 WHIP), Kershaw (.90), Scherzer (.93) and deGrom (.94).  An under one WHIP and a 9+ K/9 is a little piece of heaven like sitting in an exit row of an airplane.  On the podcast that’s coming later today, I debate Greinke and Arrieta, Scherzer and Arrieta and deGrom and Arrieta as we try to figure out where they’ll be ranked in 2016.  I say something like Arrieta will be ranked around the 4th to about the 7th SP off the board.  I agree with Early Sunday Afternoon Grey, but I will say that Arrieta has made it difficult for me to think of four SPs that should be drafted before him.  Let alone six.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Marcell Ozuna went 0-for-4 yesterday after being recalled on Saturday.  OZUNA glad to be back in Miami.  OZUNA miss friends, weather and vomiting unicorn statue in center field.  OZUNA promise to hit more powerful home runs.  OZUNA fix holes in swing.  If need be, OZUNA use cricket bat with flat barrel.  OZUNA not sure it called barrel.   OZUNA would call paddle.  OZUNA hit well in minors, .317 with five home runs in 33 games.  OZUNA thought gone longer than 33 games.  OZUNA mind like Plato’s cave.  OZUNA get confused about linear time.  OZUNA think Matrix is documentary.  OZUNA take red pill.  OZUNA was offered two red pills as his “eye-opener to alternate reality” was “out of blue pills.”  OZUNA see pitch in slow motion in 360 degrees.  OZUNA say whoa.  OZUNA thank you for your time.  So, Ozuna’s back and worth a pick up.  No, I have no idea what he’s capable of in the final six weeks, other than maybe some power.  It’s an upside flyer that’s worth taking in every league.  Like blue pill?  Yes, OZUNA.  Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Luis Severino will be called up to face the Red Sox on Wednesday and presumably will stay in the rotation for the busted, no-candy-giving Pineda. I say presumably, because can we really be sure about anything other than smart stuff coming from my brain, but not being able to come up with a synonym for stuff? It’s rhetorical, don’t rack your brain custard. Severino’s minor league numbers are eye-popping like John Lithgow in The Twilight Zone: The Movie (not a dated reference at all!). In Double-A, a 11.4 K/9 and a 1.91 ERA in Triple-A. Yup, I’m like a migrant worker cherrypicking stats, but I’d gamble on Severino in all leagues for upside. He looks like he might be the 2nd coming of wonderful with a splash of yummystiltskin. Anyway, here’s what else I saw this weekend in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Much like the classic street hockey scene in Wayne’s World, Zack Greinke called time on his 43 2/3 inning scoreless streak to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Congrats Zack, being a Dad is a gift and I commend you for putting everything aside to be there. But now that the important stuff is out of the way allow me to be the first to say “GAME ON”. What better gift for Zack to return to than a date with the anemic Mets offense. It’s like an extremely early Father’s day gift for Mr. Greinke. Only less like socks and more like an increased opportunity to extend that scoreless streak to 50+ innings. Now don’t get me wrong, even the Mets could score a run or two. Believe it or not, they’ve scored some before even as recently as yesterday. They don’t call them Amazing for nothing! But lets consider Mr. Greinke’s streak shall we? 43 2/3rds scoreless (one Mike Trout ASG tater notwithstanding), 42 strikeouts, 4 walks and just 19 hits. That’s sex watching Scarface! Why? Because that’s gangster! In what equates to nearly 5 full games Greinke has a nearly 2/1 strikeout to baserunner ratio. That’s Nintendo RBI baseball Nolan Ryan good. That’s Lance Armstrong with one ball on PED’s good. That’s $45 ribeye medium rare good. It’s good, really really good. I can’t promise the new pops keeps the Mets off the board today but I can tell you this….. Versus RHP the boys from Queens are 29th in weighted on base average and OPS. So there’s no better opponent to face outside of the Old Timers lineup they call the Phillies. Sure he costs $13,000 but the matchup and form couldn’t be better.

New to DraftKings? Scared of feeling like a small fish in a big pond? Well try out this 10 teamer of Razzball writers and friends to wet your DK whistle. Just remember to sign up through us before you do. It’s how we know you care! If you still feel helpless and lonely, be sure to subscribe to the DFSBot for your daily baseball plays.

Please, blog, may I have some more?

Alex Gordon is out for eight weeks with a seriously strained groin. To add insult to injury, his strained groin was in the smallest colander they could find. Ouch! Sure, in deep leagues, this one hurts. I’m not doubting that. Okay, I am, but let’s stay on good footing today since it’s Friday, and say I’m not doubting it. However (Grey’s cranking the sail and turning this boat around!), Gordon getting hurt in shallower leagues is actually a blessing. Now you can grab hot waiver wire guys and stop relying on boring production from Gordon. Real Talk with Grey Albright. One such guy that I’d grab is Gordon’s teammate and all-around vacuuming chicken, Jarrod Dyson (2-for-4 and his 11th steal). There might not be a bigger value change for one player in the last week, let alone the last month than this one for Dyson. Maybe all year if I can be stupidly hyperbolic without getting called on it. Dyson had the biggest value change since 1925 when Wally Pipp had a tooth pulled and Gehrig got a start at 1st. Dyson had the biggest value change since big pox decided to downgrade to small pox. Dyson could steal 25 bases in eight weeks. No, I’m no longer exaggerating. I’d grab him everywhere I needed SAGNOF! Anyway, here’s what else I saw yesterday in fantasy baseball:

Please, blog, may I have some more?